Rolihlahla Mandela

Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 - 2013)

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President Rolihlahla "Nelson" Mandela
Born in Mvezo, Umtata, Union of South Africamap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married (to ) in South Africamap
Husband of — married (to ) in South Africamap
Husband of [private wife (1940s - unknown)]
Father of , , , [private daughter (1950s - unknown)], [private daughter (1950s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1960s - unknown)]
Died in Gauteng, South Africamap
Profile last modified | Created 2 Dec 2012
This page has been accessed 2,325 times.

Categories: Famous People of the 20th Century | Nobel Laureates of the 20th Century | Famous People of the 21st Century | South African Politicians | South African History | South African Freedom Struggle | Apartheid | African National Congress (ANC) | South African Roots.

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Nelson Mandela was President of South Africa and a persistent voice working toward the end of apartheid and for human rights.[1][2]

Young Mandela

Rolihlahla Mandela was born 18 July 1918 in Mvezo, a South African village of the Thembu tribe, to Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa and Nosekeni Fanny.[1][2] Gadla was destined to be the chief of the village, and Rolihlahla was of royal south African bloodlines.[1][2] It seems that his parents had insight into his future activities, as Rolihlahla means "little troublemaker."[2]

Rolihlahla's father died when he was nine, at which time he was adopted by Jongintaba Dalindyebo.[1][2] Dalindyebo started preparing Rolihlahla for a role in leading the tribe.[1][2] Rolihlahla also attended a local missionary school, the first of his family to receive formal education.[1] It was at school he was given the name Nelson, after the common practice of giving English names to tribal students.[1][2] He later attended the Clarkebury Boarding Institute and Healdtown, a Methodist secondary school.[1] He excelled.[1]

Nelson went on to attend University of Fort Hare, his only option as a black university student in South Africa.[1][2] He only attended one year before he and friend, Oliver Tambo were expelled for their protests against the university's policies.[1]

Nelson learned that Dalindyebo had arranged a marriage for him, so he avoided home and instead went to Johannesburg.[1][2] In order to support himself, he worked as a night watchman.[1][2] He then started working as a law clerk as well as studying law with the University of Witwatersrand.[1][2]


Nelson was a member of the African National Congress beginning in 1942, along with his school friend, Oliver Tambo.[1][2] He led peaceful protests as well as armed resistance against the white minority ruling class.[1] During this time he met and married his first wife, Evelyn Ntoko Mase.[1] Together, they had four children (Madiba Thembekile, Makgatho, Makaziwe, and Maki).[1][2] Their marriage ended in a divorce in 1957.[1]

Following a 1948 victory of the National Party, apartheid was introduced to the country, restricting the rights of the black citizens and keeping them out of the government.[1] The objections and protests of Mandela's African National Congress increased, using all nonviolent means they could.[1] He would continue to lead rallies and boycotts across the country into the fifties, and opened the first black law firm in the country with his friend Tambo, offering free and low-cost legal services to those harshly affected by the apartheid.[1][2]

In 1956, Mandela and 155 other activists were arrested and tried for treason.[1][2] Everyone was acquitted, but tensions rose, leading to violent police action and violent protests beginning.[1] Following a deadly protest in 1960, the govenment outlawed the protesting groups.[1] Madela decided to try a different approach.[1]

QUOTE: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Seeing that peaceful demonstrations were not working, Nelson co-founded the Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), also known as MK, an armed piece of the African National Congress.[1][2] Seeing the government reply to the ANC's protests with violence, Mandela felt it was time to match their approach.[1]

After several incidents indicating illegal activity on Nelson's part, he and several others were tried and sentenced to life in prison in the Rivonia trial.[1] Nelson spent over 30 years (total) in prison for his resistance activity, and became the face of the anti-apartheid movement around the world.[1][2] His wife from 1958 to 1992, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was only allowed to visit with his two daughters (Zenani and Zindziswa) every six months.[1] [2] His time there was especially brutal and inhumane.[1] Despite this, he was able to earn another degree, this time from the University of London, and did what he could to help his fellow inmates.[1][2] He worked on his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom", as well, and was able to publish it five years after his release, just one of several books he'd publish.[1][2] It was later made into a movie with the same name.[2]

He was released in 1990 on the orders of President Frederik Willem de Klerk, and re-entered the political realm in South Africa.[1][2] He was instrumental in ending apartheid.[1] He and de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for the work they did to end human rights violations in South Africa.[1][2]


Preceded by
State President before election 27 April 1994
F. W. de Klerk
15 August 1989 – 10 May 1994
Nelson Mandela
1st President of South Africa
10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999
Succeeded by
2nd President of South Africa
Thabo Mbeki
14 June 1999 – 24 September 2008

Nelson became the first black president of South Africa in 1994, with de Klerk as his deputy.[1][2] Together they worked to repair the damages done by previous governments and improve the lives of the black citizens of South Africa.[1][2] In 1996, he introduced a new South African constitution, which focused on a strong central government and prohibited discrimination of all kinds.[1] He wanted blacks and whites to live in peace in the country, preaching equal treatment and safety for everyone in the country, and used national pride to try to encourage his agenda.[1][2]


Nelson Mandela rewed in 1998 to the widow of the former president of Mozambique, Graça Machel, then retired from politics in 1999.[1][2] He remained vocal on human rights issues the rest of his life, establishing many organizations to pursue his ideals of peace and social justice.[1][2] He died 5 December 2013 at the age of 95 years from a recurrent lung infection in Johannesburg, South Africa.[1][2]

July 19th, Mandela's birthday, was named Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations.[2] It is celebrated as a day to promote peace and Nelson's legacy.[2]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 History Contributors, "Nelson Mandela: Champion of Freedom",, accessed 21 Sept 2017.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 Biography Contributors, "Nelson Mandela",, accessed 21 September 2017.
  • Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1994. Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1993

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Memories: 1

On 12 Nov 2017 K (Little) L wrote:

I have many memories of my late mother's memories of Rolihlahla from the 50's - including dance halls in Sophiatown in the 50's

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Images: 5
Nelson Mandela and his dog
Nelson Mandela and his dog

Nelson Mandela Image 3
Nelson Mandela Image 3

Nelson Mandela, Gauteng, 2008
Nelson Mandela, Gauteng, 2008

Nelson Mandela Monument by Marco Cianfanelli
 Nelson Mandela Monument by Marco Cianfanelli

New "Rainbow Nation" South African Flag


On 14 Dec 2017 at 12:19 GMT Isabelle Rassinot wrote:

Thanks, Ronel. I could not tell, really: I'm just used to hearing him referred to as "Madiba", so I wondered if it should appear somewhere in the names.

On 8 Dec 2017 at 13:37 GMT Ronel (van Heerden) Olivier wrote:

Hi Isabelle

Midiba is a title of respect for Nelson Mandela, deriving from his Xhosa clan name

Mdiba is therefore not a nickname . Should we not rather place it under other last names or also known as?

On 8 Dec 2017 at 11:28 GMT Isabelle Rassinot wrote:

Should "Madiba" be added as a nickname?

On 26 Nov 2017 at 07:07 GMT Esmé (Pieterse) van der Westhuizen wrote:

On 25 Nov 2017 at 13:20 GMT K (Little) L wrote:

Document 10: Letter from Nelson Mandela to Sir de Villiers Graaff, leader of the United Party, 23 May 1961

Sir de Villiers Graaff, Leader of the Opposition, House of Assembly, CAPE TOWN


In one week's time, the Verwoerd Government intends to inaugurate its Republic. It is unnecessary to state that this intention has never been endorsed by the non-white majority of this country. The decision has been taken by little over half of the White community; it is opposed by every articulate group amongst the African, Coloured and Indian communities, who constitute the majority of this country.

The Government's intentions to proceed, under these circum- stances, has created conditions bordering on crisis. We have been excluded from the Commonwealth, and condemned 95 to 1 at the United Nations. Our trade is being boycotted, and foreign capital is being withdrawn. The country is becoming an armed camp, the Government preparing for civil war with increasingly heavy police and military apparatus, the non-white population for a general strike and long-term non-co-operation with the Government.

None of us can draw any satisfaction from this developing crisis. We, on our part, in the name of the African people - a majority of South Africans - and on the authority given us by 1 400 elected African representatives at the Pietermaritzburg Conference of 25 and 26 March, have put forward serious proposals for a way out of the crisis. We have called on the Government to convene an elected National Convention of representatives of all races without delay, and to charge that Convention with the task of drawing up a new Constitution for this country which would be acceptable to all racial groups.

We can see no workable alternative to this proposal, except that the Nationalist Government proceeds to enforce a minority decision on all of us, with the certain consequence of still deeper crisis, and a continuing period of strife and disaster ahead. Stated bluntly, the alternatives appear to be these: talk it out, or shoot it out. Outside of the Nationalist Party, most of the important and influential bodies of public opinion have clearly decided to talk it out. The South African Indian Congress, the only substantial Indian community organisation, has welcomed and endorsed the call for a National Convention. So, too have the Coloured people, through the Coloured Convention movement which has the backing of the main bodies of Coloured opinion. A substantial European body of opinion, represented by both the Progressive and the Liberal Parties, has endorsed our call. Support for a National Convention has come also from the bulk of the English language press, from several national church organisations, and from many others.

But where, Sir, does the United Party stand? We have yet to hear from this most important organisation - the main organisation in fact of anti-Nationalist opinion amongst the European community. Or from you, its leader. If the country's leading statesmen fail to lead at this moment, then the worst is inevitable. It is time for you, Sir, and your Party, to speak out. Are you for a democratic and peaceable solution to our problems? Are you, therefore, for a National Convention? We in South Africa, and the world outside expect an answer. Silence at this time enables, Dr. Verwoerd to lead us onwards towards the brink of disaster.

We realise that aspects of our proposal raise complicated problems. What shall be the basis of representation at the Convention? How shall the representatives be elected? But these are not the issues now at stake. The issue now is a simple one. Are all groups to be consulted before a constitutional change is made? Or only the White minority? A decision on this matter cannot be delayed. Once that decision is taken, then all other matters, of how, when and where, can be discussed, and agreement on them can be reached. On our part the door to such discussion has always been open. We have approached you and your Party before, and suggested that matters of difference be discussed. To date we have had no reply: Nevertheless we still hold the door open. But the need now is not for debate about differences of detail, but for clarity of principle and purpose. For a National Convention of all races? Or against?

It is still not too late to turn the tide against the Nationalist- created crisis. A call for a National Convention from you now could well be the turning-point in our country's history. It would unite the overwhelming majority of our people, White, Coloured, Indian and African, for a single purpose - round-table talks for a new constitution. It would isolate the Nationalist Government, and reveal for all time that it is a minority Government, clinging tenaciously to power against the popular will, driving recklessly onward to a disaster for itself and us. Your call for a National Convention now would add such strength to the already powerful call for it that the Government would be chary of ignoring it further.

And if they nevertheless ignore the call for a Convention, the inter-racial unity thus cemented by your call would lay the basis for the replacement of this Government of national disaster by one more acceptable to the people, one prepared to follow the democratic path of consulting all the people in order to resolve the crisis.

We urge you strongly to speak out now. It is ten days to 31 May.

Yours faithfully [Signed] Nelson Mandela NELSON MANDELA All-In African National Action Council

On 14 Sep 2017 at 18:16 GMT Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy wrote:

Another source:

Meltzer, Brad, Heroes for my son, pgs 16-17, Harper Collins Publishing

On 12 Aug 2015 at 17:27 GMT Steven Mix wrote:

I would suggest to remove the Notables category. That is a top-level category, which should only include subcategories, not profiiles.

The two Famous People cateogires should be sufficient, since Famous People is a sub-category of Notables.

And those two Famous People categories should now probably be narrowed to Famous Politicians of the xxx Century.

Then you can also remove the redundant Politicians category.

On 18 Dec 2013 at 21:50 GMT K (Little) L wrote:

On December 5, 2013

Hamba kahle, baba, 5th December 2012

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